GREGOR TOWNSEND had been in touch with Mosese Tuipulotu, to encourage the Australian-born centre to follow his older brother, Sione, in moving north to join Glasgow Warriors when his contract with the Waratahs runs out at the end of the current Super Rugby season.
Newspaper reports in Australia claim that the 21-year-old has been offered in the region of Aus$225,000 [approximately £125,000] per year on a multi-year deal by Scottish Rugby, which is a threefold increase on his current salary.
“I was asked by Glasgow to have a chat with him,” Townsend confirmed. “I actually had a chat with him two years ago by mistake, because Sione had given his old mobile to him, and I phoned to chat to Sione and got him instead. So, we had a joke about that!
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“He’s a player who is interesting one of the pro teams, and us in Scotland. Sione’s had such a great impact at Glasgow and with Scottish rugby, it’s wise of Scottish Rugby to follow up on someone of real potential.
“He’s a young player who has come back from a long absence with a knee injury, but he’s started the season really well for the Waratahs Academy and I think he’s in the 23 tomorrow for the game against the Hurricanes.”
Like his older brother, Tuipulotu qualifies to represent Scotland through a grandmother from Greenock. Last month, he was quoted as saying that his focus was on trying to earn international recognition in Australia, but his Scottish-based sibling then suggested that the situation might not be as clear-cut as that.
“I’m not sure it’s that true, to be honest – I don’t know if they mixed up a couple if quotes or whatever,” said the Scotland star. “My brother dances to the beat of his own drum and while I’m over here he wants to do his thing, so that might be staying in Australia or might be coming over here. He holds his cards close to his chest.”
If Mosese Tuipulotu does sign for Glasgow, he would become the third Australian born-and-raised centre on the club’s books, alongside his brother and Sam Johnson, who qualified for Scotland through residency in 2018.
The success Sione has enjoyed since moving to Scotland in the summer of 2021 will undoubtedly have registered with Mosese.
“He’s grown as a player,” said Townsend yesterday, after naming Sione vice captain of the Scotland side for Saturday’s match against Italy. “He’s shown a real strong defensive side to his game. We always believed he would be a creative player having watched him closely in Australia and Japan. He’s obviously got a very good carrying game, but I think his all-round game now – in defence, attack and kicking – he’s shown he is someone who has worked on his game and thinks a lot about it.
“He’s very well respected from the group, he leads a lot of our defence meetings and talks really well, but he’s also got a big role to play in attack.
“He was vice-captain when we played Chile in the summer, he’s captained Glasgow, so he’s already had that leadership experience.”
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Dogma’s plea to ‘use such money to develop young club players’ sounds fine in theory but, as a solution to anything, seems wide of the mark to me.
Ditto Paul B ‘s assertion that it would be better to use the cash to develop players from Super 6…
The core issue IMO is that we have a VERY small pool of young players to draw on. You can shake that reality any way you like, but you still end up with a very limited choice of young players to feed the age-grade teams or Super 6. Hence the reliance on imports.
The core problem is that, unlike Ireland, France, New Zealand etc, we no longer have a conveyor belt of school players coming into the game. There are only 19 state schools, out of more than 300, able to field one team per school year and play regular matches, which is pretty dismal. Fortunately, there are 22 private schools churning out young players, which gives us at least a minimal player pool.
Everything is always the SRU’s fault, but not so sure it is here. The Schools of Rugby initiative got a lot more state schools playing regularly. There were IIRC some 24 newbies keen to join in the Schools Conference, playing in Tier 4. (I.e. fielding 3 or 4 teams).
The leading amateur clubs put the mockers on that, arguing that it would interfere with their youth rugby setups. Youth rugby does not create any conveyor belt of young players, all it does is undermine school rugby by taking away the players.
Net result is that a good number of clubs with several schools in their catchment area e.g. Highland, Perthshire, Dundee, Dunfermline, Stirling County, Ayr, etc, etc, are able to turn out youth teams by cherry-picking the best players from the schools. That however has led to most of the schools no longer being able to field teams, so the conveyor belt dries up and we are back to square one.
The SRU tried to do the right thing for the game, but was defeated by a couple of dozen self-interested clubs with their own agendas.
Ditto ref the Pro team academy boys getting a shot at more competitive cross-border games. Ireland, Wales and Scotland set up an A team tournament, involving the 10 Pro teams, the same kind of set-up as England’s A league and France’s excellent Espoirs competition. The idea was that back-up and academy players would get the chance to play at a higher level against their international opponents, including many who will one day be capped for their country. What a good way of introducing young academy players to more competitive and intense games, something our U20s in particular lack.
But no it was not to be for Scotland, the leading amateur clubs objected strenuously to losing ‘their’ players to cross-border games. The Irish and Welsh went ahead without us and are reaping the benefits. We got Super 6 foisted on us instead, a not very auspicious development tool, particularly for the younger, talented academy players.
We need to get back to creating that Tier 4 of additional state schools who are keen to develop their rugby and play regularly. If that impacts on some of the bigger clubs’ youth teams, that’s life – far better to have a bunch of schools playing and producing the next generation of supporters, club players and internationals rather than the boys dropping out because their school can no longer raise a team, thanks to club youth.
Sure, it would ruffle some/loads of feathers among the leading amateur clubs. But looking at the thrashings our U20s are taking, there is a good case for ruffling feathers big time and switching the emphasis to schools rugby.
How much could be done with £125000 being used to develop young club players. We have been stuck in a cycle of short termism for 30 plus years now and it’s hardly been a halcyon era has it? Whilst Wales and Ireland prioritised internal youth development over external recruitment they have grand slams triple crowns championship wins as well as European cup triumphs. Will we ever learn? Honestly don’t think we will until the £s run out. The u20s results don’t seem to be teaching us anything…
We have moved on from the short termism that existed when the game first went pro, look at the depth of our current national squad. However we have to look at every possible option to remain a strong National team. Our star players, Scottish born or not put bums on seats and bring in the cash, these are not rugby supporters but just our great public who want to be entertained. I’ve never seen it mentioned but Ireland who in my view have the best conveyor belt system for young players in the world had 4 antipodeans in their back division last week. The key thing is not to waste large sums of money on average players as we’ve done in the past.
Have we moved on? You will have some actual results to show how we have moved on?? Cos right now other countries pish themselves laughing at us especially the Irish….?? They’re Dodson is on 1/3 the wage as it goes….
Honestly behave. You’re not seriously comparing our youth development to Ireland?? Fecking really??? U18 n u20 n senior club rugby n actual senior men xv n seriously we are analogous??? It’s insane to think that the money spent internally v externally for Ireland compared to Scotland is same. Even if it was look at results FFS!
I never compared our system with Ireland, all I pointed out was that Ireland with in my view the best system in the world still had 4 antipodeans in their back line last week. Yes we have moved on.
As for other countries laughing at us, 5th in world rankings, debt free with 30 million in the bank. Compared to where we were before Mark Dodson took over he is worth every penny compared to those who preceded him.
Mark Dodson worth every penny?
I think you need to look at the state of Scottish rugby outside of the Murrayfield trough.
Dodson is supposed to be leading an organisation looking after all rugby in Scotland. He is taking money under false pretenses and the blind boot licking from certain supposedly respected posters is frankly as laughable as it is shameful.
Less than a month ago 7 News reported ‘Waratahs young gun Mosese Tuipulotu commits to Australia despite his brother’s defection to Scotland’, with the player himself allegedly saying ‘I’m backing gold… it’s always been a dream of mine to play for the Wallabies’. According to the men down under he had already pledged his allegiance to Australia in no uncertain terms. Now, I have no objection to players of the blood joining us from any of the four corners – indeed we rely on it – but on two conditions. First, they must understand what an honour it is to wear the thistle and fully embrace it. Second they must be without doubt good enough to do so. We have given away caps too cheaply to the likes of Jaco van der Walt and Dylan Richardson – and it needs to stop. I understand Tupo Junior is being offered a king’s ransom at a very early stage in his career, having been inured for much of it. I want to make sure he is worth the price, for the SRU’s pockets are hardly lined with gold. Twin Tupos – Huwtupotupo – sounds great, but I’m still in two minds. Let’s just see what happens before anyone gets too carried away.
Well said that man!
How does this benefit Scottish rugby? Better to invest that money in developing players from Super 6 and strengthen our U20s – that’s where the work is urgently needed.
It will benefit Scottish rugby if the SQ younger Tuipulotu brother is as good as his big brother
It would benefit Scottish Rugby if Sione’s Ma or granny can play tighthead.
its not an either or binary choice. We can do both. We should if we can sign a Scottish qualified quality player, which Tuipoltu is
We can’t do both when so much is spent outside of Scotland n finances are finite
Good forward planning, “Dangling the carrot” early doors, get in there before Corporal Jones Caps him for OZ (and then dumps him.) Battle hardened straight into the mix will do for us. Win Win,. Get intae Italy England and Wales this weekend. Yes I think I’ve summed up today other than Cheltenham winners.